Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Not Much Time For Reading This Month? Try These New Collections of Short Stories, Novellas and Essays Fresh To The Shelves

A contemporary of Ann Beattie and Tobias Wolff, Frederick Busch was a master craftsman of the form; his subjects were single-event moments in so-called ordinary life. The stories in this volume, selected by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout, are tales of families trying to heal their wounds, save their marriages, and rescue their children.
In "Ralph the Duck," a security guard struggles to hang on to his marriage. In "Name the Name," a traveling teacher attends to students outside the school, including his own son, locked in a country jail. In Busch's work, we are reminded that we have no idea what goes on behind closed doors or in the mind of another. In the words of Raymond Carver, "With astonishing felicity of detail, Busch presents us with a world where real things are at stake--and sometimes, as in the real world, everything is risked."

From his first volume, Hardwater Country (1974), to his most recent, Rescue Missions (2006), this volume selects thirty stories from an "American master" (Dan Cryer, Newsday), showcasing a body of work that is sure to shape American fiction for generations to come.
New York Times best-selling author Jim Harrison is one of America’s most beloved writers, and of all his creations, Brown Dog, a bawdy, reckless, down-on-his-luck Michigan Indian, has earned cult status with readers in the more than two decades since his first appearance. For the first time, Brown Dog gathers all the Brown Dog novellas, including one never-published one, into one volume—the ideal introduction (or reintroduction) to Harrison’s irresistible Everyman.

In these novellas, BD rescues the preserved body of an Indian from Lake Superior’s cold waters; overindulges in food, drink, and women while just scraping by in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; wanders Los Angeles in search of an ersatz Native activist who stole his bearskin; adopts two Native children; and flees the authorities, then returns across the Canadian border aboard an Indian rock band’s tour bus. The collection culminates with He Dog, never before published, which finds BD marginally employed and still looking for love (or sometimes just a few beers and a roll in the hay), as he goes on a road trip from Michigan to Montana and back, arriving home to the prospect of family stability and, perhaps, a chance at redemption.

Brown Dog underscores Harrison’s place as one of America’s most irrepressible writers, and one of the finest practitioners of the novella form. 
Donna Leon has won a huge number of passionate fans and a tremendous amount of critical acclaim for her international bestselling mystery series featuring Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti. These accolades have built up not just for her intricate plots and gripping narratives, but for her insight into the culture, politics, family-life, and history of Venice, one of the world’s most-treasured cities, and Leon’s home for over thirty years. Readers love how Leon opens the doors to a private Venice, beyond the reach of the millions of international tourists who delight in the city's canals, food, and art every year.

My Venice and Other Essays will be a treat for Leon's many fans, as well as for lovers of Italy and La Serenissima. For many years, Leon, who is a perennial #1 bestseller in Germany, has written essays for European publications. Collected here are the best of these: over fifty funny, charming, passionate, and insightful essays that range from battles over garbage in the canals to the troubles with rehabbing Venetian real estate. She shares episodes from her life in Venice, explores her love of opera, and recounts tales from in and around her country house in the mountains. With pointed observations and humor, she also explores her family history and former life in New Jersey, and the idea of the Italian man.

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